I was working as a brick and block mason for 4 and a half unforgettable years and walked into a local tattoo shop one day to sell some artwork and a tattooer asked me if I wanted to learn how to tattoo. It had never crossed my mind before, but someone was offering me something and it didn’t cost a thing, so I just told him “ya”, right then and there. It took 4 votes to get me in, and I started my apprenticeship the next day. My apprenticeship lasted two and a half years and Dave Lukeson, Cliff Evans, Sean Karn, Ben Edwards and Gabriel Cece put me through the most roughest, strenuous, awesome time of my life. .
I have been published either for a tattoo or an interview in 5 different publications so far, all within my first year of being a legal tattooer. I’ve won 3 trophies; a first place for color, a first place for best of show and 2nd place for best small tattoo.
What inspires me most are people I learned from, the tattooer Jessie Smith, comic books, graffiti, cartoons, random conversations, Gabriel’s beard, my daughters and all the weird twisted things that fly out of their vocal chords, and my wife’s creative hairstyling talents. I am fanatical about Eminem and love the art of J. Scott Campbell.
When I’m not tattooing, I draw, spend time with my family, cook, hang out with friends, typical stuff.
I tend to do outlandish tattoos that are funny to me. I have a sense of humor that is kind of animated and dark. I like to laugh at things you’re not supposed to laugh at. In my tattoos, I like to incorporate things that people seem to overlook in life, like crayons (I put them in tattoos because every artist starts with crayons but never come back to them, so that is my way of going back), water wings on a whale, power buttons (my view on technology taking over. It turns everything into a cyborg), and rich, balleristic animals. Some random things I love are old funk, cucumbers in Italian dressing, ankle socks from Foot Action, and Chinese culture.
My dreams and goals? To work in a shop with pressure-sensitive, light-up tile floors. That would make me happy.
I work at Studio EvoLve in Virginia Beach from Wed-Sat, 11-9. People can check out my website www.tananewhitfield.com, contact me to discuss a tattoo idea at
A last note? I love it when I’m given an idea and left to run with it because there is more artistic freedom.